Use on Bonsai

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As we have seen in the “fun facts” page, Jin liquid is used for whitening and protecting wood, creating the appearance of naturally aged trees, which were subjected to aggressive weather during their life.

Which bonsai plants should be chosen

For a better result, it is important to choose the right treeIf you are interested in approaching this technique, your first step must be choosing the correct type of tree: the best option is to choose varieties that do have this dead wood look also in nature; for example, coniferous as oaks, pines, yews, larchs... Other kinds of tree that can be right for this method can be cypresses, junipers, olive trees, chestnuts, Japanese apricots. Natural conditions of location and weather in which these trees live may create jin and shari naturally, so that is why you should prefer them for this technique.
You can apply deadwood technique also on broad-leaf trees as well, but this is much less common.

"Dry wood" effect: how to choose the final design

The result of old wood whitening interventions must be natural Secondly, the next important thing you need to do is think of the final design of your tree, a sort of project. Aesthetic taste and respect of nature must be the targets of each creation.

The furrows of the shari should not be neither much linear nor much deep, as you can see from the picture on the side.

Jin on branches or on the top of the trunk would appear more natural when irregular and proportioned to the size of the tree.

Thirdly, you have to choose when it's best to remove the bark: structural pruning periods are to be preferred (late autumn for coniferous, after flourishing for all the trees that flourish).

Working on the wood, you have to distinguish between young and old wood. In the first case it is better to turn and grip the wood using pliers, so the effect would be more natural. Then, when wood will be more dry, you can use brushes to remove wood fibers in excess.

If the wood is already old (dead wood working) you can directly use powered tools, in particular rotary tools and wire brushes.

Shari and Sabamiki techniques

arco 2 In case of Shari or Sabamiki you have to use some added precautions to respect and preserve the plant’s physiology. You'll never remove the bark of a main branch because this will cause the death of the tree, stopping the flow of the lymph. Another action to avoid is reaching the soil, so as to prevent the “rot of the neck”.

Only once deadwood has been well shaped, you can start using Jin liquid. It is a mixture of lime and sulphur that you can find at the best garden shops and in specialized stores. This liquid protects wood from rot and pest infestation assuring a uniform bleaching that resembles weathered, aged wood, which helps achieving a successful result!

If you treat very young or very resinous trees as larchs, you need a lot of rest time - some years - before using Jin liquid. In general, we suggest starting using it the autumn following the start of the work, during pruning time and preparation to winter.

In some cases white paint and fire are used to accentuate the effect of the whitening liquid, but in any case it is better not to use the Tanuki technique which involves adding external prosthesesThe bonsaist should use a paint-brush to apply jin liquid, as well as gloves and protective glasses, in an airy room. Before proceeding to work on the plant, it is better to protect the roots and wet the part where you want to pass the jin liquid.

After six months it is needed to apply the liquid for a second time, better when temperatures are not too high. Another important thing is to keep the tree from catching rain in the days immediately following the application, in order to prevent jin liquid washing and its contact with roots.

Every year - best during autumn season - cleaning of the dead wood areas should be done, using brushes to remove musk and dirty dust, then applying Jin liquid again in order to avoid pest infections and rot.

Some "tricks" of Japanese Senseis

Some bonsai masters tend to add some drops of white paint to give a greater whitening effect, but it should not be mixed directly together with Jin liquid, which is preferably mixed only with water. Some drops of Indian ink can be added to give a more natural effect.

Some expert bonsaists also use a gas torch to burn off the shreds of wood fiber in excess after working the shape of deadwood, and then use wire brushes and sanding aids for removing toolmarks, simulating a perfect weathering aspect. This is the top for an aesthetic effect.

Another technique, Tanuki, is made by joining a living tree with an interesting piece of dead wood, but this is not liked by Japan's Senseis; only outside Japan bonsaists consider the Tanuki style acceptable.

For further information on bonsai wood bleaching techniques:

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